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Masquerade (2012)

Gwang-hae, wang-i doin nam-ja (original title)
0:37 | Trailer
A look-alike commoner is secretly hired to take the place of a poisoned king to save his country from falling into chaos.


Chang-min Choo


Jo-yun Hwang (screenplay), Chang-min Choo (screenplay adaptation)
22 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Lee Byung-Hun ... Gwang-hae / Ha-seon
Seung-ryong Ryu ... Heo Gyun
Han Hyo-joo ... The Queen (as Hyo-ju Han)
In-kwon Kim ... Captain Do
Gwang Jang ... Eunuch Jo
Eun-kyung Shim ... Sa-wol
Myung-gon Kim ... Park Choong-seo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lee Bong-Ryun ... Royal Kitchen Court Lady 1
Wook Choi ... Confucian Scholar 2
Seung-wook Choo ... Confucian Scholar 1
Yong-gu Do ... Byeong-pan - Minister of National Defense
Soo-ho Ha ... Jeong-jeon General 1
Sung-yong Han Sung-yong Han ... Public Officer Who Escorts Ha-Sun
Yi-jin Han ... Ship Raiding Constable 1
Sung-tae Heo ... Korean Alphabet 1


Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted councilor Heo Kyun to find a royal body double. He hires Ha-seon, a peasant mimic who bears a perfect resemblance to the King. When King Gwanghae collapses from a mysterious poison, Ha-seon reluctantly becomes a King. He must follow his conscience to save his country from collapse, avoid assassination, and pull off the biggest masquerade in history. K Written by CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The kingdom in the hand of a layman for 15 days. See more »


Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Woo-Suk Kang was originally set to direct, but due to trouble in production's development, Kang dropped out of project and Chang-min Choo on board to helm this film instead. See more »


Remade as The Crowned Clown (2019) See more »

User Reviews

"Live Like a King"
10 September 2013 | by Yogesh-Odyssey-OperaSee all my reviews

It's a period drama called "Masquerade", also as "Gwanghae – the man who becomes the King". It is a real story of an infamous tyrant king, but he was a good politician who helped restoring his country which had been ravaged by the war with Japan and also secured the country from the Qing Dynasty of China for a while through his practical diplomatic policies. Now he is mostly regarded as a wise king unluckily stuck in the domestic political feuds which turned out to be the main cause of his undoing, and many historians say Joseon would have not suffered two disastrous invasions by the Qing Dynasty if he had not been dethroned by a coup in 1623.

We can witness many resemblances of "Kagemusha"(1980) and "Dave"(1993) in Masquerade. As getting involved in the political feuds at his court, King Gwanghae(Lee Byeong-heon), has been nervous about possible assassination attempts, so he needs a double for protecting him from constant danger. The king's adviser, Heo Gyun(Ryoo Seung-yong), finds a suitable man for the job. He is a clown named Ha-seon(also played by Lee Byeong-heon), and he has been earning a living through his silly antics imitating the king in front of people. Ha-seon got trained and adequately does his job as ordered while the real king is having his own private time outside the court, but he is soon assigned with a far greater task.

The real king suddenly loses his consciousness due to poison, situation becomes worse and Heo Gyun demands Ha-seon to disguise himself as the king for a while to deceive others at the court. Ha-seon is reluctant, but he quickly accepts his plan because he is promised that he will be paid well. The feel is good to see a Jovial type king rather than a stern, under the guidance by Heo Gyun and the king's eunuch. As Heo Gyun instructed before, all he has to do is just sit in the King's chair and act like him. Though the people at the court are a little confused by sudden changes in His Majesty's behaviors, Ha-seon playing really good. Even the Queen and his personal bodyguard believe him, but Ha-seon crossed his line this creates an enmity between the haters in the own courtyard.

Even though he belongs to a lower caste, but he is a smart guy who can read and learn, so he becomes more active than before at the council with his high-ranking officials.As we awaiting eagerly the king regains the consciousness and it makes the situation Orphic and it heads to a terrific climax. Lee Byeong-heon, Ryoo Seung-yong and some part timers really build the film in to a Class.


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South Korea



Release Date:

13 September 2012 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Masquerade See more »

Filming Locations:

Seoul, South Korea See more »


Box Office

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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